B e c o m i n g  U s 

Shown in the Good Manufacturing group exhibition, "Proof of Thought"

The identity we cultivate as a private self within a public culture is often incongruent with the identity projected on to us. The nineties largely recognized gender and its implications as binary, ultimately hindering any expressions that seemed to contradict social norms. For many of us who were born into this nineties culture and have come to identify as LGBTQ+ there was especially a rift. A lack of both awareness and understanding of gender, sexuality, aesthetics outside of these constructed lines led us to comprehend our selves, feelings, desires as abnormal.

 

There is a multiplicity of benchmarks that define the “coming of age” epoch within each of our lives, many of which held a strong internal truth while still clouded with confusion, shame, or oblivion. The physical embodiments of our unfolding identities could be seen through our affinity towards certain clothing, hairstyles, makeup, or body shapes. The articles of clothing presented under each subject epitomize the purity of our early leanings--an innocent fascination, confidence, or comfort in these articles, encouraged some form of our expansion. This expansion lead to heightened awareness, shame, and denial early on, which slowly developed and clarified into ownership, acceptance, and, ultimately, celebration. The suspended objects serve as relics of the sweeping internal battles and revelations occurring throughout these epochs. Each relic is connected by colored thread, saturated in relation to the level of clarity we experienced during those seasons of becoming us.

 

These experiences that once seemed so singular and private, tangled in a knot in our chest, have disentangled themselves. They escape that knot to join a collective display where they can be normalized through fellowship. In giving these anecdotes space and perspective, we have untangled the threads of our histories, rid them of the confusion or negativity they once held, and most of all, found comfort in the overlap between them.

 

This installation serves as platform

for the camaraderie that we craved in our youth,

for the stories we were hesitant to name,

for the the secrets wrapped around us,

for the scars we wear like armor,

for the courage cultivated in the quiet spaces in our hearts,

for the identities that no longer bow to the weight of cultural expectations.